11 January 2007

Oddly Exciting

It was announced today that David Beckham is leaving Real Madrid and has signed a 5-year contract to play for the Major League Soccer team L.A. Galaxy. Generally such sports announcements don't really rate a reaction from me, but this news excited me. I like soccer, but really don't have the time, energy, or patience to follow anything but the World Cup. However, seven and a half years ago, I lived in London for four short, glorious months and he played for Manchester United and was just beginning his climb to the superstardom he enjoys today. So my memories about London are inextricably linked with the idea of David Beckham. Plus, I think he is an excellent player. Finally, the signing of such a star to an American soccer league kind of blew my mind. In my compartmentalized head, it is akin to Tony Blair accepting a seat in the U.S. Senate. Two worlds, although similar and connected, are colliding.

Sure, there are some downsides, like the fact that the Beckhams will now be a prime target for the U.S. paparazzi and tabloids, which means I will be sick of the sight of them in six months to a year. It also means that Beckham is getting older and his career is waning. He is still an excellent player, but I think most people would agree the best is probably behind him. It was a brilliant strategic move, career-wise, as he becomes the hero of a new, growing league rather than making way for new, younger up-and-comers in Europe. But even with all that cynical analysis, I'm still giddy. David Beckham is playing in the U.S.!


blackjazz said...

As a Manchester United supporter I've followed David Beckham's career with interest over the years too.

There's been a lot of speculation in England about whether or not he'd come back to play here and, if he did, whether or not he'd be any good.

My view (for what that's worth) is that he was a great talent when he was playing for MU. He played with a lot of infectious enthusiasm and was one of the best crossers of the ball in the world. However, as his pace declined he became less effective. He resigned as England captain after the World Cup last summer at a time when he would probably have been dropped by the new manager anyway. Perhaps he saw the writing on the wall. Now he can't get back into the team. His public declarations that he would like to be picked to play for England again have been rather sad.

This season he's been struggling to get onto the starting line-up for Real Madrid (only having started 5 matches this season) so it's not surprising he's not renewing his contract there. The new regime doesn't seem to be as interested in the big stars - the "Galacticos" as they're known.

I hope he has a big impact on football in the USA. I know "soccer" is more popular there than it was a 20 or 30 years ago, but there's a long way to go. I'm sure that the USA has the potential to become a major player in the world's most popular sport.

Esperanza said...

Plus he is totally hot. We need more hot men in America. jk

Panini said...

Have you seen Bend it like Beckham?

Scully said...

Yes, Panini, I have seen Bend it Like Beckham. Loved it. But then, I'm an anglophile and love almost anything that shows me a little piece of my adopted homeland!

Katie said...

I also have mixed feelings about this very thing. I wonder if having such a major soccer star in the US could help boost more interest in the sport? I would be all for that, as it is my favorite!

CherBear said...

Do a lot of people here know who Beckham is? Besides being posh spice's husband? I didn't even know that LA had a soccer team.